Dame Anne Begg, MP for Aberdeen South, has backed Which?’s Watchdog not Lapdog campaign to show support for a strong, open and proactive financial regulator that stands up for consumers.
The Financial Services Bill, which is currently going through parliament, will change how the financial services industry is regulated, creating a new regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) with responsibility for protecting consumers.
Dame Anne, who today adopted the Which? Watchdog, agrees that after the financial crisis and disasters like the payment protection insurance (PPI) mis-selling scandal, the new regulator must:
- Be ready to show its teeth – issue fines that are big enough to act as deterrents and promote competition by making sure products are transparent, simple to compare and easy to switch between.
- Not be afraid to bark – tell consumers when firms are found to have broken the rules, what it is investigating and what it is going to do to stop it.
- Sniff out dodgy products – take a more proactive approach and ban dodgy financial products and misleading adverts before they cause problems. Lessons must be learnt from the payment protection insurance mis-selling scandal.
Dame Anne says:
“At a time when money is tight it’s really important that the new financial regulator is a watchdog that puts consumers at the heart of everything it does.”
Which? Chief Executive, Peter Vicary-Smith, says:
“People have told us they want a regulator that stands up to the financial services industry and fights on behalf of the consumer. The Which? Watchdog represents everything the new financial regulator must be. We need a financial watchdog that is ready to show its teeth to the banks, bark at poor customer service and sniff out dodgy financial products.”